Monday, October 30, 2006

Loving and Leaving Paris



Fragrances of various shades and intensities waft around. Women and dogs of fashionable clothes totter around. Ok- so this is what makeup is. I scold myself for staring. What would mom say? She with her prim manners and primer ideas on ‘genteel’ and ‘ladylike’ would have outdone the women by ignoring. But Indians are normally very curious and I am very Indian.

Champs-Elysées is one of the prettiest walks ever. The French have no doubt, it IS the prettiest. I do not disagree.

Jean Paul maintains a pleasant flow of conversation. French history is better heard when from him. I am amazed when he dashes of dates and years associated with places. The non-believer in me wonders if all of it is correct. Both eyes on the road, one ear listening to him and the other listening to my thoughts…

We take the Parisian customary photo in front of the Arc d'Triomphe. I make a note to myself not to get a copy of it.

Souvenirs hold no interest. They are forgotten memories one insists on trying to remember. Blurs of smells, sights and sounds... I fool myself by forgetting. These days I forget even the forgotten.

Jean Paul once visited India. I took him around Pondicherry. He knew not a word of English and I knew few French words. Suffice to say it was a disaster. Most of the silence when we bicycled or sputtered around in my Kinetic was dispelled by coughs, cleared throats and while in quiet places, by shuffled shoes. He gave me a French book on parting hoping I would learn. In the years that passed, he learnt English. People have been suffocatingly kind to me.

Shopkeepers who returned more change when I bought clothes. And after painfully counting the coins and stretching back the rest, a conspiratorial wink and pressing my fingers back to enclose the cold circles.

Strangers who stopped cars and stood on gelid pavements while first determining the handwriting and then the address on the crumpled paper.

The day I left, the Chinese good luck doll that I got. A French guy who gave a Chinese doll to an Indian girl.

Universe. Globalization. Kindness. Or a bit of it all.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Admirer said...

Your posts have a magical quality about them. But so real. They leave me with a dull ache. Sweet pain. Phew!

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"foget even the forgotten"...very nicely written..

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

**forget - typo..

4:47 AM  
Blogger mannu said...

"These days I forget even the forgotten" ---- the one and only PV touch, eh ?? ;))


hey, Kid's name is Abhijeet :))

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Vinod said...

I liked this line- "People have been suffocatingly kind to me." - How true!

12:40 AM  
Anonymous conjuror said...

The depth in the writing is deceiving. There were no walks no photos, only cut and paste from the French classic "mémoires d'un menteur" bah!

3:48 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Rishi: Ty!

Mannu: Nice name and nice pics!

Vinod cheta: (I hope!). So gonna be 'unkind' now eh?

Conjuror: Un menteur a besoin de plus de mémoire!

4:50 AM  
Anonymous kerabyte said...

cold circle gr8 way 2 dscribe mney eh

11:23 AM  
Anonymous kerabyte said...

cold circle gr8 way 2 dscribe mney eh

11:24 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Kerabyte: You tell me! :)

4:45 AM  
Blogger mathew said...

Universe. Globalization. Kindness. Or a bit of it all

you have very much summarised life!!

8:42 AM  
Anonymous one among the crowd ... said...

hi poornima,

a short siesta. could it have been shorter? good to see you travelling. passing by brussels or zurich by any chance! a break from the he and you series. yet the travails of the past catch on. now and then. (a shrug... that is all he/she had for showing...). to forget the forgotten makes good rememberance.

keep posting.

12:01 AM  
Blogger BaKfIrE said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:36 PM  
Blogger BaKfIrE said...

I just liked this one "forget even the forgotten" - bon poste :)

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kindness - its all over the place.

wishing u lots more kindness in this journey of life.

chansayleesay - wish i'l do there sometime.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Mathew: :)

OAC: Long time! Are you there?

Bakfire: Merci!

Balu: We should meet!

2:50 AM  
Anonymous Pala said...

Hey, Which Jean Paul is this?

9:28 AM  
Blogger Werewolf said...

You pen beautifully!

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that Jean Paul Friedrich Richter's ghost who was dating with you in Puducherry ;)

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Meril said...

Hey Poornima,
Didn't know u till i chanced upon ur blog. Now... i know you (even if not the other way around)

You write direct dil se. Simply in love with your blog.

Waiting to read more ...

9:32 AM  
Blogger Soorya said...

"They are forgotten memories one insists on trying to remember" --> well said :) Lovely!

5:13 AM  
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11:52 PM  

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